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Nere-do-well Jerry Corbett finally meets and marries the right girl, Joan Prentiss. Unfortunately their wedded bliss is interrupted when Jerry's play becomes a hit and he hooks up with the wrong woman from his past. Joan decides that turn-about is fair play and she picks another man to escort her around to various parties around New York. Eventually Jerry quits drinking and sends his girlfriend packing, just in time for Joan to take him back. Written by
Frederick March and Sylvia Sidney star in "Merrily We Go to Hell," from 1932.
For those of us who only remember Sylvia Sidney as an older character actress -- and usually a pretty mouthy one at that -- seeing her as an ingénue is always a revelation.
Jerry Corbett (March) is a reporter and a drunk, still pining for the woman who broke his heart, Claire (Adrienne Allen). When he meets the lovely Joan Prentice (Sidney) from a wealthy family, the two fall for one another and marry.
Jerry wants to write plays, and he eventually is able to have one produced, early in the marriage. Unfortunately, one of the stars is Claire, and she's perfectly willing to take up where they left off. Jerry starts drinking again. Joan is heartbroken as well as hurt and starts drinking and partying herself. Finally, though, she returns to her father's home.
Nothing too surprising in the plot, but good performances all around. Sidney is pretty and vulnerable, taking a chance on a man her father disapproves of but whom she loves. March shows that Jerry is a weak man who in his heart doesn't believe he deserves the happiness he's had with Joan. Can these two find their way back to one another? Just guess.
Dorothy Arzner had a good sense of pacing, so the film doesn't drag or slow down. Worth seeing for the actors, not necessarily the story.
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